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Your News National League 1 review

Ealing remain on course for the SSE National League One title and promotion to the Championship despite Tom Wheatcroft, the league’s top points-scorer, enduring an off-day with the boot for the second week in a row. Wheatcroft, who, up until a fortnight ago, had been deadly accurate in front of goal, missed three of four kicks from the kicking tee against Old Albanians before being relieved of his duties. The second of two tries from Tom Parker five minutes from time spared Ealing a third defeat of the season. Owen Bruynseels crossed twice too, while fellow wing Phil Chesters and tight-head Tim Brockett also found their way into the scoresheet in a 32-29 victory.

Second-placed Blaydon matched Ealing’s six-try return in a 32-6 home win over struggling Sedgley Park. Thirteen points separate the sides at the top of the table and Blaydon have also played a game more, however the north-east outfit are refusing to give in the fight with Saturday’s victory at Crow Trees proving the perfect riposte to their defeat at the hands of Loughborough Students the week before.

After racing to a 29-point lead with just 34 minutes gone, Esher found themselves pegged back by bottom-of-the-table Cambridge, who, at one point, threatened to pull off the unlikeliest of victories. Tries from Jack Cooke, Pat O’Grady (2), Ollie Mines and Chris Elder, who also improved two of the scores, set Esher up nicely for a comfortable win. But Cambridge hit back with 26 points of their own without reply, Stephen Hipwell bagging a brace and replacement winger De La Rey Veenendaal scoring two more. A second Mines try and one from Richard Smart in quick succession eventually put paid to Cambridge’s challenge, as Esher won 43-26.

Macclesfield continue to make up lost ground at the foot of the table, with Saturday’s 17-15 win away to Richmond their fifth victory in a row. For the second match running Tom Eaton proved the match-winner, the nerveless fly-half kicking a goal in the final minute, as he had done against Tynedale the week before, to hand the Blues another four important points in their battle against the drop.

Three points is all that separates Macclesfield from safety following their tremendous run of form, although back-to-back home wins will have done the confidence of relegation rivals Wharfedale no harm whatsoever. The Greens backed up their win over Loughborough Students a fortnight ago with a 22-8 victory against Cinderford. Tom Barrett kicked four penalties and there were tries for Aaron Myers and Simon Horsfall.

Fylde made it three wins in a row with a 35-10 success over Rosslyn Park at the Woodlands. Fly-half Chris Johnson was one of five try scorers and kicked two penalties and two conversions for a 15-point haul.

Cliffie Hodgson kicked 15 points to take his tally for the season to 241 – one less than top marksman Wheatcroft – in an impressive 30-8 win for Coventry away to Blackheath.

In the weekend’s remaining tie, Loughborough Students edged out Tynedale by the narrowest of margins. Andy Hall’s goal-kicking once again proved crucial to the outcome, the fly-half contributing 14 points against a Tynedale side who outscored their

Round 24 results

Esher 43 - 26 Cambridge

Blackheath 8 - 30 Coventry

Fylde 35 - 10 Rosslyn Park

Old Albanians 29 - 32 Ealing Trailfinders

Richmond 15 - 17 Macclesfield

Wharfedale 22 - 8 Cinderford

Blaydon 32 - 6 Sedgley Park

Loughborough Students 19 - 18 Tynedale

Round 25 fixtures

Blackheath Vs. Sedgley Park 15:00

Fylde Vs. Ealing Trailfinders 15:00

Loughborough Students Vs. Rosslyn Park 15:00

Macclesfield Vs. Coventry 15:00

Tynedale Vs. Cambridge 15:00

Wharfedale Vs. Old Albanians 15:00

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